The Spanish Tragedy for a Modern Audience
A shortened version of Thomas Kyd's 1587 drama The Spanish Tragedy. This new version retains the blank verse, major plot line, and Elizabethan atmosphere, but makes the play easily understandable to modern audiences and readers.
From the Introduction:
The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd was the first of the great Elizabethan revenge tragedies and was a major influence on Shakespeare when he wrote Hamlet fifteen years later. Both plays begin with a ghost and include a climactic play-within-a-play and a tragic hero who can't make up his mind.
My object in preparing this modern version of The Spanish Tragedy was to make an understandable and enjoyable version of the play while retaining an authentic Elizabethan feeling and without sacrificing too much of Kyd's exuberant style.
This version differs in the following ways from the first edition of 1592:
1. I've modernized the spelling and changed words and usages unfamiliar to the modern play-goer. I've removed or discretely translated all the Latin and minimized the extensive references to classical mythology.
2. I've shortened the longer speeches.
3. I've removed the two scenes located in Portugal and the Portuguese sub-plot involving Alexandro and Villuppo.
4. I've changed the order of several scenes in order to place the interval roughly in the middle of the play.
5. I've smoothed out and simplified several ambiguities.
But I've retained the blank verse and recognizable antique words. The play is about two thirds the length of the original, and about 95% of the words are Kyd's.
July 14, 2006
"This hand first took his war horse by the reins."
A must for every fan of this way of "ancient" english !